How to cure your lawn after summer damages
After a long, hot summer, most people are looking for a way to bring their lawn back to its pre-scorched state. This is no mean feat – as anyone who’s ever taken on Mother Nature will know, she tends to be somewhat stronger than your average garden hose.
First things first, make sure you know what the problem is. A brown lawn could either be dead or dormant.
Most grass types can go several weeks without water and be ok. The visible grass, the leaves, will dry out and turn brown, but the roots should be ok. As the roots make up 90% of the grass, this is what keeps it going between rains. If your grass is dormant, a bit of water should bring it back to life, if it really is dead, you might have to replant.
What’s the problem?
Your basic brown or yellowish-brown lawn is most likely sun scorched or lacking water, or perhaps a bit of both. Both are common in the Northern hemisphere during a long, hot dry season. Though patchy lawns could mean a whole host of other problems – thatching, insect, mole and pet damage, among others.
Dead grass isn’t coming back. If some patches are still ok, with care and effort, they will eventually spread across the yard, but if your entire garden is dead, you probably will need to reseed.
How to tell if your grass is dead
Simply watering your lawn for a few days is the easiest way to tell – if it starts to turn green, you’re good, if not, you may have to consider a change of tack. If you’re in a hurry to know if you should water and wait or start over, check the base of the grass blades. Hints of green might be visible. Pulling up a few roots might also clue you in – a healthy, off white means living grass.
The one-third rule
Tempting as it may be to get rid of that ugly brown top coat ASAP, this could mean your lawn takes far longer to come right than if you just left it alone for a while. So whether you’re using a manual mower, a gas powered mower or a robotic lawnmower, never remove more than one third of the above ground grass at a time.
When to use fertilizer
If your lawn’s taking longer than it should to bounce back, or you’re in a hurry to get things green again, a gentle helping of fertilizer can speed things up. The cheapest way to fertilize your lawn is to put cut grass, yours or someone else’s, through a mulcher and spread it over the lawn. Store bought lawn fertilizer can work just as well.
In general, with a reasonable amount of patience and regular watering, your lawn should recover from a tough summer. A bit of fertilizer can speed up the process for an upcoming garden party, and you can make your own quite easily.